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Postgraduate study
Computer Games

Computer Games Programming MSc

You gain the skills and knowledge to develop high-performance systems, contribute to the development of new computing algorithms and become part of the many research areas that this subject links to. Games programming is a specialisation of computer science and involves the same research-led study of computational theory and the design of software systems.


Course overview

Computer games facilities

See the facilities you use when you study computer games at Teesside University

Computer games programming has been taught at Teesside for many years, and the course is respected industry wide. This masters programme builds on these foundations and provides a research-focused framework, enabling you to explore the more advanced areas of the subject.

As well as being prepared to enter the games industry, you gain skills relevant to many other sectors including simulation, artificial intelligence, and the wider software engineering industry. You can also further your academic career through a PhD and other research-related activities. There are three routes you can choose from:

  • full-time - 2 years with advanced practice (September and January start)
  • full-time - 1 year (September start) or 16 months (January start)
  • part-time - 2 years.

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Course details

Course structure

Core modules

Advanced Game Prototyping

You build upon fundamental concepts involved in the creation of a game prototype as part of a small team.

You examine the contrast between the creation of a strong core mechanic, which is immediately tactile, and how it can be expanded upon through player learning, subtractive design and variety to provide longevity. Ultimately providing an accessible, engaging and substantial gameplay experience informed by playtesting.

You enhance your skills both inside and outside of a contemporary game engine. Inspired by the structure of relevant titles, you are encouraged to rigorously plan tasks from a macro and micro perspective prior to development.

AI for Games

Integrating AI into game engines can be difficult due to the fact that game engines typically do not use symbolic or declarative representations of characters, settings, or actions.

You cover the wide variety of software technologies applied to the integration of AI techniques within the context of industry-standard game engines, as well as forthcoming technologies developed within AI-based research (interactive storytelling systems). You explore the design and implementation of AI-based systems applied to the wide variety of game engines technologies and applications, including multi-platform specifics, desktop-based and immersive virtual reality systems, as well as web-based and mobile gaming platforms.

You gain experience of working as a member of a games development technical team mapping to industrial practise. It enables you to critically evaluate development methods and apply them within your teams based on existing industry practice.

AI Planning

AI planning is a key enabling technology in interactive entertainment, which covers topics from path planning to generating intelligent behaviours for virtual agents, whether individual or collective behaviours, for example dealing with co-operation and co-ordination of virtual agents.

You gain a thorough grounding in current research trends in AI planning. These include current advances in plan generation, planning in uncertain domains, knowledge engineering for planning, and representation languages against the various applications to interactive entertainment, supported by examples from current computer games.

Game Group Project

You explore the prototyping aspects of computer games development within a contemporary game engine, focusing on the principles of design and programming. You look at different ways of creating, designing and developing interactive content specific to modern gaming platforms. Working in small teams, you develop a real game from concept through to fully demonstrable prototype.

Master's Project

You gain the requisite skills needed to analyse, conduct and assess qualitative research within the applied psychology setting. You also gain an understanding of key theoretical approaches in designing qualitative research projects as well as practical experience in collecting and analysing qualitative data. You develop your knowledge and skills in using advanced qualitative research designs, specifically in qualitative research design and methods applicable to applied psychology at MSc level. You explore the relationship between theory and practice of interpretative approaches in psychological research, and explore different modes of investigation and analysis employed within these interpretative approaches.

Indicative content:

Theoretical approaches in qualitative research: phenomenological, ethnographic, social constructionist, discursive and narrative approaches
Sampling in qualitative research
Interview design and constructing the data corpus
Analysis of textual and visual data including Grounded Theory; Interpretative Phenomenological analysis; Narrative inquiry; Semiotics; Discursive Psychology; Conversation analysis; Critical discourse analysis & affective textual analysis
Trustworthiness and credibility

The assessment for this module is a 5,000 word qualitative research bid including feasibility study and data analysis (ECA, 100%).

Real-Time Graphics

You extend your understanding and abilities in graphics programming to include efficient high-speed rendering of high-quality imagery. Emphasis is on the rendering of 3D virtual environments. It is useful for anyone interested in creating interactive, high-quality graphical applications such as computer games.

You learn how to research and select appropriate algorithms and techniques to solve a problem and then construct an implementation using C++, a graphics library such as OpenGL or Direct3D, and a shading language such as GLSL or HLSL.


Advanced practice (2 year full-time MSc only)


The internship options are:

Vocational: spend one semester working full-time in industry or on placement in the University. We have close links with a range of national and international companies who could offer you the chance to develop your knowledge and professional skills in the workplace through an internship. Although we cannot guarantee internships, we will provide you with practical support and advice on how to find and secure your own internship position. A vocational internship is a great way to gain work experience and give your CV a competitive edge.

Research: develop your research and academic skills by undertaking a research internship within the University. Experience working as part of a research team in an academic setting. Ideal for those who are interested in a career in research or academia.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

Lectures are used to introduce and develop material, addressing research issues and recent developments.

Subjects are explored in-depth through tutor-led seminars, practical workshops, individual or group research and contribution to discussion.

Practical work includes case studies from real scenarios and the development of significant computer applications.

Directed self-study and research develop your critical evaluation skills.

Development of transferable skills, self-managed learning and professional development are core themes throughout the programme.

How you are assessed

You are assessed on your subject-specific knowledge, cognitive and intellectual skills, and transferable skills applicable to the workplace. The assessments include assignments, tests, case studies, presentations, research proposal and literature review, and the production of a dissertation. The assessments may include individual or group essays or reports. The assessment criteria, where appropriate, includes assessment of presentation skills and report writing.


Entry requirements

You will normally need a 2.2 degree (or above) in a related subject such as games programming, computer science or software engineering. Or any of the following subjects if the curriculum includes significant programming experience: artificial intelligence, computer security, computing, computer forensics, data science, digital forensics, information technology

IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent) for international students.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country



Career opportunities

This course enables you to develop core transferable skills, knowledge and behaviours required to effectively lead and manage within computing sector.

We also offer start-up business support to help you develop your own business in games through our innovative Power UP Indie Games Accelerator.


Information for international applicants


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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Useful information

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2023/24 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£7,365 a year

£4,770 a year with advanced practice

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£15,000 a year

£9,000 a year with advanced practice

More details about our fees for international applicants

  • Length: within 1 year (September start), 16 months (January start) or 2 years with advanced practice (September or January start)
  • Start date: September or January
  • Semester dates

Apply now (full-time)



2023/24 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£820 for each 20 credits

More details about our fees

Apply now (part-time)

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